Tinola is Filipino comfort food and perfect for cooler weather. This hearty chicken soup features a gingery broth that is so warming and smells amazing! Each bowl contains a whole piece of chicken and tender chunks of green papaya; a scoop of steamed rice is read more
Thanksgiving is like the Super Bowl for passionate cooks. We save recipes all year, and begin creating our menu months in advance. And of course the classics and family favorites have to be there, but it’s a good opportunity to experiment with something new and exciting too. This year, I’m adding these Pumpkin Dumplings to the mix. They are an absolute cornucopia of Autumn flavors- they can be made ahead and the creamy filling is to die for. The addition of mozzarella cheese makes these really special.
Kabocha is alternately called Japanese Pumpkin or Kabocha squash. The flesh has the same vibrant orange color of pumpkin, but it is much easier to work with. The flesh is less watery, making it ideal to stuff wontons, plus the skin is edible (although I do remove it in this recipe)! And the taste is much sweeter. If you can’t find Kabocha, butternut squash makes a good substitute.
Set the Kabocha pumpkin aside to cool. While it’s cooling, prep the onions and brown the butter. Browning the butter adds a really rich, nutty taste to the filling for the pumpkin dumplings. Browned butter makes a fabulous simple sauce for raviolis, and is easy to make. Just keep an eye on it because it browns very quickly, and we don’t want it to burn.
Filling the Pumpkin Dumplings
I use a simple foldover to seal these dumplings, making it very quick and easy. Make sure to buy the mozzarella that is sold in a wrapped block, not the fresh kind that is submerged in water as the moisture will make the dumplings burst when frying.
At this point you can freeze the pumpkin dumplings. That way you can make them a couple weeks ahead of time, and just fry off right before serving.
Now all that is left to do is fry these babies! You can of course skip the garnish but it adds so much festive fall vibes, why would you want to? The smell of frying sage leaves will fill your whole house with Thanksgiving aromas.
Once the sage leaves stop bubbing (which means the liquid has been cooked off) they are ready. Set the sage leaves aside on some paper towels to drain, and make sure the oil reheats before adding the wontons. Fry them in batches of about 6-8 depending on the size of your skillet, being careful of the oil bubbling up. Since the filling is already cooked, you just need several minutes to get the skins a nice golden color.
When all the pumpkin dumplings are fried it’s time to get fancy and serve them on a platter, scattering the sage leaves on top and sprinkling with flaky salt.
Cant get enough dumplings in your life? Try these Mushroom Dumplings or Pork Gyoza. These Pumpkin Dumplings are going to be such a beautiful and tasty addition to your holiday menu, I can’t wait for you to try them. Please comment on the recipe below, and let us see your creations by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- ½ kabocha pumpkin, about 1 ½ lb
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese cut into small ¼ inch cubes
- ½ onion
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 3 cups neutral oil
- 1 package wonton skins
- 1 egg
- A handful of sage leaves
- Coarse salt (like maldon)
- Scoop out the seeds of the kabocha with a spoon. Cut the kabocha into thick wedges and set the pieces on a steamer insert or basket. Steam the kabocha on high heat for 25-30 minutes until tender. (Use a skewer or tip of a knife. Both should slide easily into the flesh.) Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- In the meantime, dice the onion very fine and set aside.
- Heat a pan over medium high heat for several minutes. Add the butter and let it melt and then bubble. Continue to cook the butter until the milk solids start to brown 1-2 minutes. Add the onion and lower heat to medium, stirring for 5-7 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Set aside.
- Remove the skin from the kabocha either using a pairing knife or a spoon. Discard or eat the skins.
- Put the kabocha into a bowl and then mash it. Add the browned onions, the salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and flour. Stir to combine.
- Crack the egg into a small bowl and add 1 Tablespoon of water. Whisk with a fork to combine.
- Take one wonton wrapper and brush the edge of half with the egg wash.
- Place 1 Tablespoon of filling in the center and add 1 piece of cheese. Seal the wrapper, pushing out any air bubbles. Set aside on a tray and continue filling and sealing the rest of the wontons until you have used up all of the filling. You will yield approximately 40 wontons.
- Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Test the oil by dipping the edge of a wonton into the oil. It should bubble around the edge. If not, continue heating the oil for several more minutes.
- Wash and dry the sage stems. Pick the sage leaves off of the stem and then fry them in the oil for 2-3 minutes. Drain them on a paper towel and set aside.Carefully place 6-8 pieces of wontons into the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, turning them occasionally, until golden brown. Set aside to drain on paper towels and continue frying the rest of the wontons in batches.
- Sprinkle the wontons with some coarse salt and serve them garnished with the fried sage leaves.
*Do not use fresh mozzarella as the moisture in the cheese will cause the wrapper to burst. Instead use the block of firm mozzarella and cut into small cubes.
*Once you wash your sage leaves, dry them carefully with paper towels to eliminate all moisture before frying.
*The wontons can be made and then frozen uncooked. Freeze them on a baking sheet (make sure to leave space between the wontons so they do not freeze as one block) until they are frozen solid. Then bang the baking sheet on the counter to loosen them from the baking sheet and transfer to a storage bag. Cook them the same way, adding another minute or two to fully heat the center.
Keywords: kabocha, dumplings, thanksgiving appetizers, vegetarian, holiday recipes, pumpkin
I don’t mean to alarm you, but the holidays are right around the corner. And that means trying to come up with menus for multiple holiday dinners. I always like to serve the expected favorites, but I also like to shake things up a little and experiment with something new. This year, that’s going to be my twist on Poached Fruit. A mix of late summer and early fall fruits, this Poached Fruit is amazing just served on top of ice cream, or to dress up a pound cake.
It even works at breakfast the next morning, if you ended up making too many dishes for dinner (or is that just me?). Served with yogurt or oatmeal, it’s pretty amazing. And since Poached Fruit is the poster child for make ahead food, you can make it several days ahead and let it hang out in the fridge while you continue on with other preparations. Bathed in a dreamy syrup fragranced with Asian standbys like ginger and star anise, this Poached Fruit is ready to be a glamourous showstopper at your next holiday gathering. (We won’t tell anyone that it takes just about a half hour to make…)
Poached Fruit Syrup
This syrup is so delicious! I’m actually thinking of saving some next time to make cocktails. And making it couldn’t be easier: just simmer the spices with water and sugar so the syrup becomes highly flavored. If you’re using a whole vanilla bean, split it with a sharp knife down the middle and scrape out the seeds. You can use 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste or even vanilla extract instead. If you’re using extract, it’s best to add it at the very end as the flavor can disappear if you add it at the beginning.
While the syrup is simmering, it’s time to prepare the fruit. I made this using a mix of fruit available right now. Late summer/early fall means there are still good stone fruits around, but also pears and figs are coming in. You really can make this with nearly any fruit that you like and that looks good. Since the fruit will be poached, firmer, not quite ripe fruit works best. The poaching process will render it lusciously soft and tender. Too ripe and it will fall apart when poached.
I start by peeling the peaches/nectarines. Their skins tend to peel off while poaching so I find it nicer to just remove it. The easiest way to do this is to cut an x on the bottom the fruit, and then blanch. The peels slip right off. (This is also a great way to peel tomatoes)
I prep the pears last, so they don’t have a chance to turn brown.
Poached pears are so beautiful, I like to make sure I have half a pear for each person for the prettiest presentation. My pears were tiny, so cutting them if half was perfect but if you have very large ones, consider cutting then in quarters to keep all of your fruit around the same size.
Once all the fruit is prepped, it’s time to poach! Bring the syrup back to a simmer over medium heat. Begin by poaching the pears first, as they are the firmest and need the longest cooking time.
Once all the fruit is tender, your Poached Fruit is done. Just cool in its syrup to room temperature and refrigerate. This can be made a couple of days before, making it an ideal holiday dessert. If you have any leftover, try it spooned on top of oatmeal, or even as a side to a savory main dish like Char Sui BBQ Pork. Please take a moment to rate and comment on the recipe below, we love hearing from you! And don’t forget to tag us in your pics at funkyasiankitchen.
For the Syrup:
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 star anise
- 1 ½ inch piece of ginger
- 2 peaches/nectarines, a little firm
- 2 plums, a little firm
- 2 small pears, a little firm (I used bartlett but bosc would be good too)
Yogurt, sour cream, or vanilla ice cream
Make the syrup:
- Cut the ginger into several slices.
- Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, star anise, and the ginger in a pot and bring to a simmer over high heat.
- Cover with a lid, lower heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the fruit.
For the Fruit:
- Wash all fruit.
- Score the tip end of the peaches/nectarines with a small x. Bring a small pot of water to boil and submerge them in the boiling water for 10 seconds.
- Take them out of the pot and dunk into cold water. Let it sit a couple minutes to cool. Peel the peaches, starting where you made the X, and then cut the fruit into halves (or quarters if very large) and remove the seeds. Set aside.
- Cut the plums into halves and remove the seeds. Set aside.
- Peel the pears then cut the pears in half and then scoop out the seeds. I used a tomato corer so it looks neat but you can also use a paring knife. Next, trim the base and cut out the inner stem. Set aside in a bowl of water. (Prepare the pears last so they do not oxidize).
- Bring the syrup to a simmer over medium high heat. Add the pears, cover with the lid, and lower the heat to medium.
- Simmer the pears gently for 10-12 minutes until you can slip a knife tip easily into the pear. Add the peaches, plums, and figs, and replace the lid.
- Simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes until the fruit is fully cooked and tender. Cool the fruit in the syrup until it is room temperature and then refrigerate.
- Serve cold with yogurt, sour cream, or some ice cream.
*There will be plenty of syrup left for the amount of fruit. Consider using it to sweeten some hot tea, as a base for a fall cocktail, or poured over some hot cereal.
*The fruit can be made ahead and will keep several days in the fridge.
Keywords: holiday desserts, asian sweets, fruit desserts, fall fruits